I watched grape soda swirl down between globs of vanilla ice cream as I emptied the bottle into a tumbler, bubbles foaming back up into a lavender head. With a sudden plop the ice cream let go at the bottom of the glass; like a whale breaching the sea it bobbed to the top, sending foam over the sides. Greedy, childlike, I licked the overflow. No sticky glasses for me.

"You pig," Calvin said slyly. (His speech seldom palsied when tossing quips or insults.) Not looking up, he focused his attention on every spoonful of ice cream he scooped; cerebral palsy made him slow, measured, methodical, never one to over- or undershoot his target.

"That's why you married me, darling," I shot back. "And I'm not done yet either," I added. "Some talents are multipurpose." I leaned over to catch with my tongue the spittle about to drip from the corner of his mouth. His head, always tipped downward, kept his mouth slightly open. Often I'd wipe the wet from his lip with my fingertips. If we were alone, I'd push my fingers between his lips and he'd tongue them clean. This time I slipped my fingers into my own mouth.

Calvin laughed when he saw my mustache thick with purple froth, a dollop of ice cream ready to drop from the end of my nose. "You are so right,' he said, "let me love you up again, right now," and dipped his face below my chin to catch the ice cream as it dripped from the tip of my nose to the tip of his tongue. "Good catch, baby," I murmured, "your talents are multipurpose, too!"

Rather than stop there he steadied himself against the kitchen counter and continued his ascent, licking first the bottom of my chin, then gently washing my lips. Without thinking (I knew his body so well), my arms rose to his shoulders to steady his climb. He enveloped my mustache with his mouth and mimicked, more loudly, my earlier slurping sounds. Lingering for only a moment, I broke away when I saw the purple float still overflowing onto the counter. Calvin rubbed his bearded face into the spill and scrubbed his cheeks against mine. "And you're not a pig?" I asked, licking the drips that ran down his chin.

"Give me a tongue bath, baby." Calvin whispered deeply, "Lick my popsicle down to the stick." He smirked, then giggled, then laughed out loud.

His brown skin, shiny from the baby oil we had used at the beach, glowed in the kitchen's afternoon heat. Small drops of sweat glistened in the hair of his armpits, his musky dampness mingling with the smell of grape soda and vanilla ice cream. Nuzzling his purple chin down my neck, he slipped my unbuttoned shirt from my shoulders and let it fall to the floor. Without taking his lips from my chest he reached back—slowly, deliberately, unseen—to his Orange Crush float. Concentrating to control his fingers, Calvin scooped a melting glob of ice cream from his glass and, with a jerk, squashed it into my right armpit.

I bolted backwards, almost knocking over my glass, but he held me firm, painting a drippy orange-and-ivory swath from armpit to nipple, up to my neck and into my mouth, where my tongue sucked the ice cream from his fingers. With his other hand he searched in my glass for a firmer lump of ice cream, then thrust it into my left armpit. I shuddered as he squished cold ice cream over my warm skin, then slid his hand along my arm, gently pushing it up until it bent and arched over my head. Still steadied by the kitchen counter, he held my arm in place while he licked the sweaty orange-vanilla mess back into my armpit even as it started running down my ribs.

Gritting my teeth, fighting the tickle of his mouth, I groped behind him for a scoop of ice cream from his orange float and, with the skill of a magician, thrust my hand deep into the back of his Levis, forcing ice cream into the cleft of his butt.

"Ahhh!" he yelped. "For that, bad boy, you will be punished," he warned, jerking me into his arms and kissing me deeply while fumbling with my belt. With finer dexterity than Calvin's, I took over, undid my own belt, loosened my jeans and tugged at the zipper. We held our kiss, savoring the taste of sweat mixed with ice cream.

Calvin's hand slid down my wet chest and pulled my briefs away from my gooey belly. Instead of the warm grip I expected, I felt a rush of cold as he emptied my ice cream float down the front of my pants. My body shot backwards but he pulled me to him, thrusting his hips into mine, pushing the goop into my pants and down my thighs. Again my hand reached behind him and shot the remains of his float over his head, getting as much on myself as I did on him. His body arched like a TV cowboy shot in the back, the spasm pushing me backwards. Unable to regain my balance on the slippery floor, my feet shot out from under me.

Calvin tried to hold me, only to have his feet slip out from under him as well. His arms shot out sideways, slamming the counters on each side of my galley kitchen as he bucked with a full body spasm. He could not let go if he'd wanted to. With my arms around his neck, I slid down the mahogany hardness of his body, a hardness that only cerebral palsy can offer. We slow-motion slumped into a tangle of arms and legs and settled into the slop on my once-clean kitchen floor, now Jackson-Pollacked with the white of my body, the brown of his, and the purple and orange of our ice cream floats—a kaleidoscope of sugar and dairy and lust.

Calvin released my sticky ear lobe from his lips and whispered, "We almost killed each other!" "Yeah, almost," I quipped. "Love can be like that sometimes."

Sated, exhausted, we dozed momentarily as the cat stealthed into the kitchen to warily lap up our work of art, watching, guardedly, lest the chaos begin again.

© Michael Perreault 2004
Illustration © 2004 Mark McBeth, IDEA | MONGER


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Michael Perreault
writes frequently for BENT.
His work is featured in "Queer Crips: Disabled Gay Men and Their Stories," edited by Bob Guter and John R. Killacky, Haworth Press.



BENT: A Journal of CripGay Voices/March 2004